Cautionary Tale: Bridge Painter Falls 40 Feet, Contractor Faces $189,000 in OSHA Fines

On June 19th, Minnesota-based Abhe & Svoboda, Inc. was slapped with a $189,000 OSHA fine after Oregon state safety regulators found nine safety violations during the investigation of an incident at Ross Island Bridge last February. A bridge painter fell nearly 40 feet down a ladder opening and landed on another painter who was working below.

Fortunately, both workers survived -- but suffered very serious injuries.

Inspection reports showed that the painter who fell wasn’t equipped with a fall protection harness which could have prevented the accident. But the more troubling discovery was that workers didn’t even know when or how to use the fall protection equipment they had.

Avoiding OSHA Fines: Training Is Paramount

fall protection trained worker

There are many things this contractor could have done differently, but it all boils down to employee training.

The new OSHA rule on walking working surfaces puts the responsibility on employers to train workers on fall protection. Employees are supposed to know:

  • How to use a fall protection system (including hook-up, anchoring, and tie off techniques of personal fall protection gear)
  • How to install and disassemble a fall protection system
  • How to inspect and maintain a fall protection system

The trainer must have a recognized degree, professional certificate, or professional standing as a master of the work or project being done.

How Can I Train My Employees?

You don’t have to spend months putting together a training program from scratch. OSHA provides fall protection FAQs and factsheets, and we share the latest industry news and tips straight from our own blog.

At Rooftop Anchor, we also provide educational materials and regular lunch and learn sessions across the nation -- schedule a free appointment today using our online scheduler. Or, drop us a line at 800-411-3914 with your questions.